Star Gooseberry
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Star Gooseberry
ntroduced Photo: Thingnam Sophia
Common name: Star Gooseberry • Hindi: हरफ़रौरी Harfarauri • Manipuri: ꯒꯤꯍꯣꯔꯤ Gihori, ꯒꯦꯍꯣꯔꯤ Gehori • Marathi: हरफ़रौरी Harpharori • Tamil: Aranelli • Konkani: Rajamvali • Urdu: Harfarauri • Mizo: Kawlsunhlu • Kannada: ಕಿಱುನೆಲ್ಲಿ, ಕಿರುನೆಲ್ಲಿ Kiru nelli, ಅರನೆಲ್ಲಿ Aranelli, ರಾಯರನೆಲ್ಲಿ Raayara nelli
Botanical name: Phyllanthus acidus    Family: Phyllanthaceae (Amla family)

Star Gooseberry is a small deciduous tree reaching about 25-30 ft in height. Leaves are compound, 14-25 inches long, crowded at the ends of the branches leaflets 2-3.5 inches long by 1-1.5 inches wide, alternately arranged along the rachis, ovate or obliquely ovate, acute or somewhat acuminate, base rounded or somewhat wedge-shaped. The genus name Phyllanthus is derived from Greek words meaning leaf-flower, an allusion to the apparent bearing of flowers on the leaves. The species name acidus is on account of the acidity of the fruit. Flowers are very minute, in short dense spike-like clusters arising from nodules along the branches, like mulberries. Fruit is pendulous, in small clusters from the branches, round or slightly flattened at the poles, with shallow or deep ribs (usually 5) 0.75 inch across. The tree usually flowers and produces fruit twice a year. Fruits appear simultaneously with the flowers. So, the tree usally has fruits hanging from it, at any time of the year. The fruit is used chiefly for pickling and for the preparation of preserves. It makes an excellent jam. Star Gooseberry is native of Malay Islands and Madagascar and frequently grown in India for its acid fruit.

Identification credit: Thingnam Sophia Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.

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